Preview Round 5 – GWS Giants vs Hawthorn, Sunday 5th July, Giants Stadium, 6.10pm

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Land of the Giants

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What a great win against Collingwood. Definitely not one for the faint-hearted, but then, we all had practice with that kind of tension in the Preliminary Final, didn’t we? ;)

I want to make special mention of Toby’s performance. That goal he kicked in the second quarter was exceptional, the sort of talent that deserves to be rewarded with a premiership. I hope it happens for him.

We asked a simple question last week - where was the Giants team of Round 1? Well, they seem to be back, and it wasn't just the return of missing stars that made a difference. The resolve was there. As well as Toby, Whitfield and Kelly were among our BOG; Ward kicked a great goal and looked right at home again, and it was no surprise that replacing Jacobs with Mumford worked so well. We are just a better team when he plays, it’s a chemistry thing.

Newcomer Tom Green showed maturity beyond his years in only his second game, and has a big future in front of him. Tom, please stay a Giant.

We now get a bit of a break before meeting the Hawks at home again next Sunday. It will be a real challenge in more ways than one, because Hawthorn (and perhaps Alistair Clarkson) well and truly had our measure last season, holding us to five and four goals in two really bad losses. In particular, the humiliation in round 21 was shocking and completely burst our Canberra bubble. It’s going to take a special effort to overcome recent history like that, because the Hawks will be full of confidence.

Unfortunately, the injury curse has struck again. Phil Davis and Zac Williams will be out with hamstring problems for a while, so we’re going to have to find a way to manage without them, but we were able to against Collingwood on short notice, so perhaps there’s no need to be unduly pessimistic. And apart from Adam Kennedy, there’s no ready replacements anyway.

In a sign that things are on the move, we might get something resembling a crowd. The NSW Government has partially relaxed attendance restrictions, so provided the resurgence of the virus in Victoria doesn’t travel up here, we’re allowed 5,000 people for this game, which is reasonable considering the circumstances. If you’ve no objections and have downloaded the COVID-19 app, please register for the ticketing ballot.

I think this game is going to be won at the coaching table. Can Leon out-coach Clarkson?

Thinking caps please.
 
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Giant Strides

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Interest in the selections.

Presuming Phil Davis misses, who replaces him? Lachie Keeffe & Matt Buntine the primary candidates, with Jake Stein & Connor Idun the lesser possibilities. Hawks seem to roll with a 4-tall forward line - Sam Frost (OK, I know that is odd), Jono Patton, Jack Gunston & Tim O'Brien in this week's team, so I think we'll replace him with another tall rather than go smaller. Maybe Keeffe gets the guernsey to match up on Patton - both big, solid lads, Keeffe able to wrestle 1 v 1, and neither really have breakaway speed on the lead.

I'm hopefuly that Zac might be OK with the 9-day break since he only came off as a precaution, but if he does miss (and I'm happy to be conservative given the short competition this year) then his natural best fit in Isaac Cumming is also out with an injury in the last scratch match. Adam Kennedy of course could be a direct swap, provided his own injury is deemed OK. Otherwise, we could drop Whitfield, Hately or Perryman back and allow another midfielder. The other left field thought might be Xavier O'Halloran to debut - he was well written up in both of the last two scratch matches, and even though he's nominally an inside mid, he does have both speed and endurance and it's not unusual for a midfielder to start on a back flank.

Otherwise, you'd expect steady as she goes unless there's any other unannounced injuries.
 

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dlanod

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Presuming Phil Davis misses, who replaces him? Lachie Keeffe & Matt Buntine the primary candidates, with Jake Stein & Connor Idun the lesser possibilities. Hawks seem to roll with a 4-tall forward line - Sam Frost (OK, I know that is odd), Jono Patton, Jack Gunston & Tim O'Brien in this week's team, so I think we'll replace him with another tall rather than go smaller. Maybe Keeffe gets the guernsey to match up on Patton - both big, solid lads, Keeffe able to wrestle 1 v 1, and neither really have breakaway speed on the lead.
I can't find the graph any more but I saw an surprising one during the week - in an article about defenders nullifying a contest, the top defenders do it about 85% of the time. Howe was in the top right (very high success rate, very high contest rate) but in the top left was Keeffe! Similar success rate, but a lot fewer contests because he's not in our best 22.
 

Giant Strides

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I can't find the graph any more but I saw an surprising one during the week - in an article about defenders nullifying a contest, the top defenders do it about 85% of the time. Howe was in the top right (very high success rate, very high contest rate) but in the top left was Keeffe! Similar success rate, but a lot fewer contests because he's not in our best 22.
Yes, I saw that too - and was mightily surprised. But that's obviously why he's got the call-up in the past, and why it's likely he gets it again.
 

Giant Gutsache

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Hopefully Bobby Hill is picked this week. As others have said, might require Whitfield to go back. Ward would be another option to go back. I like his aggressive kicking that others don’t seem confident enough to take on. Would toughen things up down back too.
 

General Giant

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Hopefully Bobby Hill is picked this week. As others have said, might require Whitfield to go back. Ward would be another option to go back. I like his aggressive kicking that others don’t seem confident enough to take on. Would toughen things up down back too.
Def think he adds something. Whitfield back to cover Williams(if he is out) and Greene to be more in the midfield with Bobby up front.
 

Gigantic

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Sam Frost has been playing in the backline the last couple weeks hasn't he? Only watched a portion of today's game

So that really only leaves them with three talls if Patton plays with O'Brien and Gunston
 

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Danny88

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Kennedy is probably the closest like for like if Williams is out with hamstring tightness

Davis out is a hard one. I probably would agree with most here and pick Keefe and put him on Patton.

so no unforced changes for me
 

dlanod

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Glad Hawthorn got up over NM.

I think we probably lose this one but at least we don't have to worry about a "get right" game.
 

Pres

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Patton did not play yesterday. They went with Lewis and O'Brien as talls.

Hawks really did us in with their forward half pressure causing turnovers via them setting the wall. Need to have a way out of defence this week. I'd bring Kennedy back as he can run and carry the ball. And as others have said put Whitfield back.

It was a very physical game and a few Hawks will do well to get up. O'Meara in particular copped a couple of massive hits.
 

Danny88

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When the hawthorne midfield is up and about and firing, they are hard to compete with. No doubt their game plan will be to stifle our ball movement and i think the keys to winning will be to:
- Win the midfield battle
- Use the ball quickly before they get set up behind play. We need a gold coast like play on at all costs type plan
 

dlanod

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I've been successful in the ticket ballot, anyone else going?
Yep, got the email but will have to log in later and check what it looks like
Got the email (x4). Logged in, didn't see the tickets, got worried... and then re-read it and realised they're not issuing the tickets until tomorrow afternoon. Oops.
 
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